15 September 2015

Yan Wei Pai (燕尾牌)

Ming Chinese Swallowtail Shield
A different Yan Wei Pai, from 'Wu Bei Zhi (《武備志》)'.
Yan Wei Pai (燕尾牌, lit. 'Swallowtail shield'), also known as Shou Pai (手牌, hand shield), is a long and narrow hand shield that has a characteristic “swallow tail” shape. It is made of poplar, pine or tung wood and measuring five chi seven cun long and about one chi wide. Despite its length, Yan Wei Pai is light and agile. While it provides adequate protection to its wielder, it is too narrow to protect those who stand behind him.

Ming Chinese Long Shield
Front (right) and back (left) view of a Yan Wei Pai, from 'Chou Hai Tu Bian (《籌海圖編》)'.
Yan Wei Pai was the preferred shield of Lang Bing (狼兵).


  1. Are there any details on how this shield would've been used, like if that indention at the top was meant to trap an enemy weapon or prop a gun?

    1. There was a slight mention on how to use this shield in Wu Bian 《武編》,but the indention was not utilised in any way.

      OTOH, the indention was indeed used as gun prop, although a larger Ai Pai (挨牌) was used.

    2. Then again, given the way this shield is wielded, parrying or trapping enemy weapon with the shield comes naturally. There is also a Qing drawing that depicts a soldier dual-wielding two shields.

    3. Sorry if it was a long time ago but do you have any link or key words I could use to find this picture?

    4. Ah, I found the picture!


    5. thanks!Sorry for not having noticed your responce .


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